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First Crit(14 posts)

First CritSharkman
Jun 3, 2003 9:12 PM
Raced my first crit tonight at Portland Intl Raceway. 1.9 mile flat course, seven loops. Raced with the Cat IV/V combined field.

Led the field through the first lap, probably not very smart, but hey, it was my first crit. Hung with the pack solidly through the second and third lap, was having dreams of actually finishing with the pack.

Middle of fourth lap looked down at my heart rate monitor and saw 181, and I am 50 years old. Knew right then if the pace picked up any, I was toast, and sure enough right in the middle of the fourth lap, the pack accelerates from 25+ to almost 30. I flail away wildly trying to catch up, but no go.

Man do those guys go fast. We must have been averaging 24 to 25 mph. Granted, the course is pancake flat, but we had pretty strong winds to contend with. Had a great time, and did not finish last, hung in there on my own the last three laps and finished in front of some, but behind most.

I will definitely do that again. What a workout, 14 miles, 37 minutes, average heart rate 171.

I'd sayshirt
Jun 3, 2003 9:27 PM
you did exactly the right thing. First races are learning races, and racing them will teach a lot. My guess is next time you'll hide a little more at the beginning, but don't be afraid to attack.

Wasn't it Mark Twain who said something like, "A man who actually tries to pick a cat up by the tail learns something he can learn no other way." ?
Crit #1 Rule #1: No hrm!hrv
Jun 4, 2003 6:22 AM
Once you get that first crit finish out of the way, then use it. Otherwise, don't need any more distractions than you'll already have, like watching out for all the squirrels.

Might I suggest you do the 3/4's or the Monday 4/5 Masters? Sure, they're 17 laps now instead of 7, but the changes in pace are less, larger pack to hide in, and a much greater workout, more of a time trial workout than a sprint workout.

Glad you had fun. Gotta go now and shoot my teammate a contratulatory email: he won last night.

Although I've worn HRM's in races, I can't say thatbill
Jun 4, 2003 7:06 AM
I've ever paid much attention (I rarely look down at all, including for speed). Mine is downloadable, so I'll take a peak after the race as I continue to try to develop that all-important sense of perceived exertion. In my last race, my HR through the last lap was higher than I ever would have said I could maintain for that time, higher than I normally see in aggressive group rides, and I was accelerating right up through the sprint. So, my limitations may not be what I thought they were.
Don't underestimate that, in this instance, what you don't know won't hurt you. You may have got beat off the back unnecessarily, done in by your own mind.
Glad you had fun. Rock out. I'm in my second season of racing (I'm 44), and I'm having a blast. Some additional old-guy encouragement a few weeks ago when, although a 17 y/o won the race, he was closely followed by a novice 47 y/o (not me, obviously -- but I finished ahead of the 47 y/o my next race, as well as a whole bunch of thirty and twenty-somethings).
Jun 4, 2003 7:20 AM
Its great to see the HR data after a race, but like you I think it has limited uses in the race. I mean, if the pack is going and your heart rate monitor is saying you are "blowing up", are you just going to give up?

I've found that my "max hr" in a race vs even a super hard training ride is +10, which is quite significant.
imho, disagreeweiwentg
Jun 4, 2003 2:06 PM
for me, personally, it's helpful. I'm not going to give up just because my HRM is beeping. but for me, it serves as a rough guide to energy expenditure (for example, after 800 or so theoretical calories consumed, it's usually time to refuel) and how much there's left in the tank.
if you use that as a guideline...merckx56
Jun 4, 2003 2:17 PM
there will be many bonk-filled miles in your future! Never go by what a tiny, transistorized machine tells you as energy expenditure. Feeding during rides and races is something that you have to figure out on your own. You may go on a four hour LSD ride in the winter and not burn 800 cals in the first three hours. That will lead to a long day of sleepyness, headaches, and muscle-wasting. If the HRM gives you a basic guideline, that's great, but you should figure it out in hours and minutes as well.
a very rough guidelineweiwentg
Jun 4, 2003 7:42 PM
I know quite well that the energy expenditure shown by HRMs is an estimate, and not always a good one. I've never used my HRM as an exact guide. I do, however, like seeing numbers. and I can guesstimate, roughly, from the numbers what my body needs and how much it has left to give. if I feel I can give more than what my HRM says I can, then my HRM can go to hell.
what kind of "race" gives you time to fret over your HRM? ;) nmCat 3 boy
Jun 5, 2003 8:21 AM
few, but couldDougSloan
Jun 5, 2003 7:44 PM
Some of them have alarms, so you can set a high limit that would sound an alarm.

Say you are on a solo break. You know you'll blow in short order at, say, 180 bpm, so you set the alarm for that. To avoid blowing, you listen to the alarm and back off slightly, maybe enough to stay out front, but not blowing up. It's a stretch, but possible.

The memory feature would be the best use of it. If you are hitting 180 in races and never over 170 in training, that tells you something.

Doug, do you hit your race pace HR when training? I guess Ibill
Jun 6, 2003 7:52 AM
need to think about this. I always have thought that the adrenaline rush of being 200 m from the line and fending off someone trying to steal your placing was going to send your HR places it would not necessarily go on even a pretty doggone hard training effort, but maybe those HR's should not be so rare events.
very rarelyDougSloan
Jun 6, 2003 8:21 AM
I read something from Chris Carmichael to the effect that racers *should* be hitting race level heartrates in training. Why should we be expected to go harder in racing than training? We need to know what that's like.

Not likely an issue for someone racing every weekend, though, and maybe doing some training races during the week. After all, racing is training, too.

I rarely even used them in TTs...brider
Jun 5, 2003 9:50 AM
...and when I did, it provided me with nothing usefull.

I've used them in training (but not regularly), like the time I was riding next to a team mate on a hill workout, and I was reading 165 (his read 195). He still spanked me at the sprint for the top.

But the question really is, if you're just hanging on the pack, and you're near your max, do you think it's a good idea to back off? You're going to be expending much MORE energy if you back off and try to keep even a slightly slower pace (solo). Pushing beyond your limits is what makes you grow as a racer.

I ran for years before going into triathlon, and eventually into bike racing. HRM was a cool techy toy, but I never really found it useful as a training/racing tool.
Jun 5, 2003 10:57 AM
I agree with all you say, and I now rarely ever use my HRM in training, and absolutely never use it in any type of racing or group riding.

That being said, using the HRM in my first year of "serious" training helped me develop a sense of my own Rating of Perceived Exertion, helped me find my lactate threshold, and generally gave me a better understanding of how my body functioned in training.

So I really do think the HRM can be usefull as a training tool especially for newer athletes. It will mess with your head if you ever use it in a race though; I found that out the hard way.